Claude Williamson

Live at the Jazz Bakery

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Claude Williamson, an important survivor of the '50s, had previously recorded a tribute to the innovative Bud Powell in which he often sounded very close to the masterful pianist. Williamson, who originally developed his own sound out of the Powell style, remains a classic bebop pianist. This CD from the Spanish Fresh Sound label is a live set with bassist Dave Carpenter and drummer Paul Kreibich, both of whom are tastefully supportive and take occasional meaningful solos during this performance. Throughout the date, Williamson's style is often quite reminiscent of Powell's, and he even revives four of Powell's tunes: "Blue Pearl," "Sub City," "Bud's Blues," and "Hallucinations." The other selections (including an unaccompanied version of "Yesterdays") are songs that Powell also performed (including "Sure Thing," "Reets & I," and "Blues in the Closet"). And yet it is obvious while listening to this recital by the veteran pianist that Claude Williamson has something of his own to contribute. The music may be of vintage quality, but the improvisations have their surprising moments, and the result is a set that consistently swings up a storm yet is often lyrical and thoughtful. Plus, the extensive liner notes by Alun Morgan and producer Dick Bank are quite definitive. Highly recommended.

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